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Letter regarding candidates' access to public places

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Subject: Access to Public Places and Residential Dwellings by Candidates and Their Representatives

Dear Madam or Sir:

I am writing to inform you of certain provisions in the Canada Elections Act. The Act gives candidates and their representatives a right of access to buildings, land, streets or other places that are open without charge to the public. It is an offence under the Canada Elections Act for persons in control of public places, such as shopping malls, to prevent candidates and their representatives from campaigning when the premises are open without charge to members of the public. This right of access exists equally for all candidates, irrespective of their political affiliation or the views that they promote.

The only exceptions are if the campaigning activities would be incompatible with the function and purpose of the place or inconsistent with public safety. These are narrow exceptions that I expect will find application only in rare circumstances.

In addition, the Canada Elections Act requires that administrators of gated communities provide to candidates and their representatives access to those communities between 9:00 a.m. and 9:00 p.m.

The Canada Elections Act also contains other access rights, including the right of candidates and their representatives to have access, within apartment buildings and condominiums between the hours of 9:00 a.m. and 9:00 p.m., to canvass at the doors of apartments, units or houses, as the case may be. As well, candidates and their representatives have a corresponding right to campaign in the common areas of multiple-residence buildings during those hours. This right of access may only be denied by a person in control of a multiple residence building whose residents' physical or emotional well-being may be harmed as a result.

Persons who contravene these rules are liable to a fine of up to $5,000 or to imprisonment for a term of up to six months, or to both.

For more information, see the enclosed relevant provisions of the Canada Elections Act or visit

Yours truly,

Stéphane Perrault

Acting Chief Electoral Officer


Provisions of the Canada Elections Act
Regarding Access to Residential Dwellings and Public Places

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